UPDATE 2: North Georgia counties asked to conserve water indoors
CATOOSA, GA. (WRCB) -- Cloudy, muddy water has contaminated some of North Georgia's water supply. Officials say it could still get worse before it clears up completely.
The situation became more serious over the weekend. The problem is murky water at the Catoosa Utility District's main source, Yates Spring.
A state agent thinks the water bank fell into the spring, and caused the water to become very dirty.
Residents are asked to limit their indoor and outdoor water use. The problem should clear up on its own, the question is when?
"We will probably take much shorter showers and turn water off while we're brushing our teeth," says Deborah Eyman, a Catoosa Water Utility customer.
Eyman didn't even know about the water ban in Catoosa County. She just filled her backyard swimming pool two days ago.
"I water my roses and stuff like that," she says. "I had no idea there was a ban."
It is confusing for Catoosa Utility customers, because the water coming out of their faucet looks fine. Despite the problem, Catoosa Utility customers are still getting clean water from a 24 million gallon storage tank. The utility is also bringing in 3 million gallons a day from neighboring water companies.
Catoosa Utility's main source of water comes from Yates Spring on Yates Spring Road. One visit to the spring and the water problem is obvious.
"It's an underground spring," says Catoosa Utility Board Chairman, Jerry Lee. You've just got to let Mother Nature do her job, and hopefully it will clear up."
On a normal day six million gallons of water would be pumped out of Yates Spring, but murky water has the company's four pumps shut off since Friday.
"I just want to stress to everyone the seriousness of this situation," Lee says.
Water companies are required to measure sediment in water, it's called the 'turbidity' level. Georgia state law prohibits water companies from pumping anything above level one. Lee says levels at Yates Spring are now above 20.
"Minimize the water you use," Lee says. "Help us get through this situation."
The chairman says it's a waiting game to see when the water will clear up. Because the company's major source of water comes from a spring Catoosa Utility District only treats the water with chlorine and fluoride. For that reason, the company has no filtration system to fall back on.
Deborah Eyman says she'd rather use less water now than have no water next week.
"No more filling up the swimming pool and watering the flowers," she says.
Catoosa Utility services all of Catoosa County along with part of Walker and Whitfield counties in Georgia, and Hamilton County in Tennessee.
Catoosa Utility District is not pumping the dirty water, all customers are getting water from a storage tank or an outside source.
That's why it's important that customers conserve their water use.